Superpowers, for dads

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The boys in my house wore matching ties today, all three of them. Halfway through the morning rush Henry got upset that his tie wouldn’t lie flat like Timothy’s. From the bathroom I watched Tim take him on his lap and convince him how fine his tie was, how smart, and most importantly, how incredibly flat: it falls down just like a waterfall, Henry. It’s perfect.

Later Henry was practising lunges while I put on my make up, and stopped to admire his tie. He was beaming all over his face, glowing with it. ‘This tie is so smart, Mummy. It like a waterfall’.

I have noticed that this is what happens between Daddy and these boys. He gives them a better way to see things, and they believe him. I’ve watched him convince Teddy that playing a made-up game is more fun than being hungry and cross. He can make our old playground exciting, over and over again, while I faint with boredom on the bench. He’s made Henry terribly severe about road safety without saying anything at all, just by showing him how it’s done. Woe betide you if you cross without pressing the button for the green man. That’s not how Daddy does it.  

If it’s sappy metaphors you’re after, try this: if I order their universe around them, then it’s Timothy who lights up their sky. Timothy, too, who straps on their wings and pushes them off the cliff. He tells them they can fly, and then they do.

It is something special to watch the person you married love the babies you made. One day I’ll look at my grown-up boys, and realise he’s helped them see a better way to be a man. And they will believe him, I hope, because damn. He knows what he’s talking about.

I never want to not feel this. Happy Father’s Day, my love.

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Outtakes

I know you wish your kid was as good at posing for photographs as mine. Let’s take a look at some of his best attempts at a Father’s Day card.

hey, will you hold this sign?

no.

(Doggy has already lost the will to live. Sarah and I shortly to follow.)

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HATE THIS CHAIR AND THIS SIGN AND ALL OF THIS.

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I accept your humorous face with reluctance. Let’s move on.

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aaaand, we’re done.

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I’ll sit down when I’ve finished my phone call. Do I disturb you while you’re working?

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fly, you fools.

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there’s something on your face. No, honestly. 

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Here’s what we went with in the end. He’s on the phone with a pocket calculator, but needs must.

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We also made an attempt at a Father’s Day video for Tim’s dad. These were the bits that didn’t make the final edit, oddly enough.

Outtakes for Father’s Day from Rachel Jeffcoat on Vimeo.

And PS!

I’m writing today on Oh! you pretty things for Josie’s Mothers on Motherhood series, and excited as heck about it. Have a look!

How to be ten feet tall: a note on Father’s Day

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One day last month Tim worked from home. It was one of those days where Henry was still gallivanting downstairs in his vest and socks at 10am, yelling something or other about diggers.

‘Henry’, I heard Tim say, ‘want to come help me work?’

Everything went quiet. I looked over the balcony to check he wasn’t balancing on anything taller than himself. But he was sat next to Daddy on the armchair, sharing a blanket, looking at Tim’s server configurations with intense concentration. I wanted to cry at the look on his face: pride, and self-importance, and glee beyond reckoning. Even the hair on the top of his head was standing up in excitement (or lack of brushing, I forget which).

He wears the same expression when he sails off on the back of Tim’s bike, or fiddles with screwdrivers while they put up a shelf, or sits on his knee to steer the car. He hears Tim’s key in the door and his everything lights up like a beacon. They go back, these two, to dark hours of brand-new nights, when going to sleep on Daddy’s chest was the best thing a tiny boy could imagine. You can get Henry to repeat pretty much anything these days, but ask him who he loves and he’ll give it to you straight.

‘Hey, can you say: I love Mummy?’

‘Luss Daddy’.

‘No! I love Mummy’.

‘Luss Daddy‘.

(I tried bribery. He won’t be moved.)

It slays me. Because Timothy completes me too, so I understand. I watch him fill up parts of this boy I can’t touch, and it’s a particular sort of happiness I never anticipated.

I might be the one Henry comes to for kisses and quiet. But at heart he is a voyager, and his co-pilot of choice is Daddy. Bros for life, with their matching feet and hairlines. It feels like that’s how it should be. I’m so glad I get to see it.

Happy Father’s Day, favourite.

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Daddy cool

Henry was seventeen hours old. Red, downy skin and a tiny scrunched-up face. He looked just like my baby brother, except for the feet. Wedge-shaped with long toes. Daddy’s feet. The first time I saw them was the first time I realised we’d actually made him, between us.

Our first night had been endless and stressful – no sleep, a lot of fumbly breastfeeding and a spectacular choking episode just before morning – so at first light, I texted Timothy.

This boy just gave me the fright of my life. I need you here as soon as they’ll let you in.

He replied within a minute.

I’ll be waiting outside the door.

He was. I handed over the wriggly bundle, still shivery with shock, and Timothy sat in a chair with Henry curled up on his chest. He settled instantly, enviously. Something about Daddy made things alright. Maybe it was the matching feet.

These days, Henry laughs out loud when Daddy comes home. They have the best playtime and the silliest conversations. Daddy does the funny noises and the motorbike game. Daddy is the good-time guy, in short, which is okay because my motorbike noise is frankly not up to scratch. And let me tell you that there is nothing, no nothing so attractive as a man with a baby. I had four years to love Timothy as a person, then three more to love him as a husband. Loving him as a ten-month father just made the whole thing deliriously lovely all over again.

He says to me, this man of few words, I can’t believe how beautiful he is. I just love him so much.

Pretty sure the feeling’s mutual. Maybe it’s the matching feet.

Happy Fathers’ Day, Daddy-o.

H believes in open-mouthed kisses. Nice.